Thanks to the stomach flu, I hit my pre-pregnancy weight much earlier than I had anticipated. Being unable to eat anything without getting sick for 5 days will do that to you. However, there have been good things AND bad things about getting back to that weight so quickly.
And last month for comparison:
Thankfully, one of the biggest things I have noticed is an increase in my energy. I’m not nearly as exhausted as I have been in weeks past. That doesn’t mean that I still don’t want to (and do) fall asleep on the couch at 9 PM every night – waking up at 4:15 AM will do that to anyone. But, I’m not completely worn out by the end of my work day. Usually, I would get to my last 2 classes of the day and just be spent. Now, I don’t feel nearly as worn down and ragged by the days end.
I’ve also noticed that running has been so much easier AND I am running faster again. The majority of my runs the past 3 weeks have been either at or faster than an 8-minute mile pace. That’s huge for me, especially since it took me several more months after my first pregnancy to get back to that pace. I’m feeling lighter on my feet and I’m not nearly as sore or tired after an easy 3-mile run.
However, this also might have to do with the fact that I am eating dessert again. Dessert = extra calories for this nursing mama. I will admit that I have definitely been eating more lately and my weight certainly has gone up from it’s lowest point toward the end of the stomach bug (I had gotten down to 118, which is too low for me as far as having energy). So, I think those extra calories have given me a lot more energy, especially at the end of a long work day.
Because I am back at/near my pre-pregnancy weight, I’ve decided that I am no longer going to focus on the scale. In the past, this would have completely freaked me out. Not knowing my weight would’ve controlled every thought and I would have spiraled into a binge-and-purge type behavior. I needed that number for accountability, to make sure that I wasn’t eating too much on a daily basis, and to ensure that I was losing weight.
But, weight isn’t nearly as important to me anymore. When we moved in with my parents a year ago, I didn’t have a scale to weigh myself. And it was FREEING. I didn’t obsess over the number. I ate much more intuitively and I focused more on “everything in moderation”, which is how I try to balance my nutrition anyway. Once I got pregnant, I worried a little bit more because I was sure I was going to gain “too much” weight. However, once we moved into the new house and I got my scale back, I was surprised to see that I was right on track and where I was with my pregnancy with MacKenna. So, I don’t feel like I NEED the scale as a crutch anymore and since Matt doesn’t really weight himself either, the plan is to put it up so I’m not even tempted to look. I will most likely get it out every month just to check my progress, but I have other goals in mind.
One of those goals: building back my speed and my strength. I don’t need the scale. I feel great and that’s awesome. But, I know I’m not nearly as muscular and “toned” (I hate that word) as I used to be. I still have a mommy belly that I’m OK with, but I am definitely weak when it comes to my strength. I want to get stronger. Strength = faster running, and to me, being competitive again is important. I miss racing. And while I miss my pre-pregnancy body from time to time, I know that there’s a good chance it won’t ever look the same way again. That’s OK to me. I just want to be fast and compete. I know I’ll never get to elite status, but I’d love to start winning some bigger races, and maybe even start placing in some longer races. I’m running several half marathons this year and I’d love to get closer to the 1:30 goal for a half sometime this year. Training start Monday for RnR Chicago and I can’t wait to be seriously training again! (More on that Monday though.)
The past few months, I’ve been sharing about my mental health journey. I will admit that I’ve suffered from depression in the past, although I’ve never been diagnosed or treated for it. It is hereditary and so I feel like I know the warning signs for me when things start to spiral out of control. The past 4 months have been HARD. There has been a lot going on in my personal life that has really knocked me on my butt a few times and while I have several people to talk to, I have felt alone at times. I know the way that I have treated my husband and kids (especially MacKenna) has been affected and I have learned a lot more about myself and my feelings just over the last month. Some of my thoughts have been frightening to me, but I’m learning how to manage them and have looked into getting some help for the things that I have been feeling. I actually DON’T feel like this is postpartum depression, but I think that has had an impact on those chemicals in my brain being a little more unbalanced.
Thankfully, I know my triggers and have taken a step back and away from many things, including responsibilities (I resigned from my coaching position to focus my time on my family, my job, and finishing my master’s degree) and have changed some other aspects of my life that have contributed to my stress. Feeling overwhelmed or pressured definitely gives me that “all alone” feeling, so I’m learning how to say no to things and to ask for help when I need it (something I struggle with constantly). I am VERY thankful for many people in my life who have listened to me complain and have been somewhat of a therapist to me because they see situations from the outside and don’t pass judgement – especially my mom and Matt, who have been extremely supportive with some of the decisions I have had to make in the past few months.
I’m also extremely thankful for being able to run. Even bad runs have been great for my mental health lately. Those few days where running looked out of the question were pretty rough. But, I’m thankful that it was more of an immune response than an actual injury and my chiropractor was able to adjust it back for me. I NEED running right now and training is definitely going to be the mental boost I need to get me through this last month of school!